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Moscow Region Town Wants Olympic Events If Sochi Fails

PARAMONOVO, Moscow Region — Moscow region officials say they could host the 2014 Olympic bobsleigh and luge events if Sochi cannot build the track on time.

“If the situation with Sochi becomes difficult, we are ready to help,” Valery Gavrilov, head of the region’s Dmitrov district, said at a news conference at the conclusion of a junior World Cup luge event in the town of Paramonovo last weekend.

While Russian officials say the construction of all 2014 venues are on schedule and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge told reporters during his visit to Moscow in October that he was happy with Sochi’s progress, the bobsleigh and luge track has given local organizers a major headache.

In July, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered organizers to move the track to another location after the original site was criticized by the United Nations Environment Program as “environmentally unfriendly.”

Putin said the move has been agreed with the International Olympic Committee.

Sochi needs to build most of the venues and infrastructure from scratch, but Gavrilov said his town had a world-class facility ready to host major international events.

He said moving Olympic bobsleigh and luge events to Paramonovo, a small town about 30 kilometers north of Moscow, would also make sense from the economic point of view.

“Our track cost $50 million, while Sochi’s track would cost almost three times that much,” he said.

Gavrilov added that President Dmitry Medvedev liked the idea of Paramonovo hosting the Olympic events.

Russian Olympic Committee spokesman Gennady Shvets said there were no plans to move any events from Sochi.

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